Plucked Dulcimer

Plucked Dulcimer

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)

This plucked dulcimer has an unknown maker and date, but it is an example of the Pennsylvania German Scheitholtz tradition zither with straight sides, thought to be the precursor of the Appalacian plucked dulcimer. Its cotter-key tuning pegs might be replacements, but they do function well enough to tune the instrument. Two delicate F-holes decorate the top and bottom of the soundboard.

In 1974 the collector, Mrs. Anne Grimes, said that the instrument came from Western Virginia there is was found by a road crew preparing to grade for a new highway. It was purchased from William "Unaka Bill" Breedlove, an amateur folksinger and poet of Block City and Church Hill near Kingsport, Tennessee.

Currently not on view
Object Name
place made
United States: Pennsylvania
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 10.5 cm x 12.5 cm x 96 cm; 4 1/8 in x 4 15/16 in x 37 13/16 in
overall: 3 7/8 in x 4 3/4 in x 37 7/16 in; 9.8425 cm x 12.065 cm x 95.09125 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object